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Thursday 18 October 2018

The faces that make up modern Ireland

Top photographer's portrait of a nation to greet airport visitors

rugby player Brian
rugby player Brian O'Driscoll
TV presenter Ryan Tubridy
actor Gabriel Byrne
golfer Rory McIlroy
Aimee Aherne (8) from Donnybrook in Dublin
TV presenter Miriam O'Callaghan
Sean MacMahon from Listowel

Colm Kelpie

SOME of the faces you'll recognise, some may appear a bit familiar and others you won't know at all.

Visitors to Ireland will be shown a portrait of a nation as they step off the plane at Dublin Airport this month.

Some 250 never-before-seen photographs of Irish politicians, sport stars, actors and ordinary citizens will be on display at Terminal 2 for the next year, showcasing the individuals inhabiting modern Ireland.

Renowned photographer Kevin Abosch has been carrying out the project for more than two years, with each of the subjects photographed in the same manner.

Mr Abosch (41) said the idea was to represent each person in an equal way, regardless of status.

"It's not about the heroes or the villains among us, it's about humans."

Around three years ago, the Los Angeles-born photographer began shooting faces in Rathmines, Dublin, where he was based at the time, to show the differing people that made up the community, but he decided to expand the project to include all of Ireland.

Half of the subjects are well known personalities while the remainder are ordinary citizens.

The project was funded by Mr Abosch, though he claims the cost was "negligible", and he won't be paid for the exhibition.

Personalities involved include Taoiseach Enda Kenny, RTE broadcaster and journalist Miriam O'Callaghan, President Mary McAleese, singer Sinead O'Connor, golfers Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell, Kerry footballer Colm Cooper and Ireland rugby captain Brian O'Driscoll.

Some of his subjects were chosen at random, while others were selected because of their position in society.

Mr Abosch said all were keen to take part in the project, claiming Mr Kenny was "jovial" with a good sense of humour.

"Each face, each citizen, contributes to the fabric of Irish society," he said.

"There are rich and poor, as well as octogenarians and babies among the faces, but I didn't adhere to a socio-political or scientific methodology in choosing my subjects."


Mr Abosch's work has been on the cover of more than 500 magazines, including 'Vogue', and displayed in museums across Europe and North America.

He is also carrying out a similar project entitled the 'Faces of Paris'.

He has photographed international stars as part of his commercial work such as Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Meryl Streep and Scarlett Johansson.

As his project drew to a close, Mr Abosch approached the Dublin Airport Authority in the hope the portraits could be displayed in Terminal 2.

He said he wanted to show the exhibition in a large public space and was impressed with the design of the new terminal.

The 'Faces of Ireland' exhibition is running beyond the security areas of Terminal 2 from this month for a year.

A soft-copy exhibition catalogue and a hard-cover coffee table book of the work will also be available, with proceeds going to the Dublin Airport Authority's Charity of the Year, which for 2011 is 3Ts, Turning the Tide of Suicide.

Irish Independent

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